CHICAGO, Illinois (WPIX) – A man accused of the surreptitious shooting of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews in the nude, appeared Saturday in federal court.
Authorities arrested Michael David Barrett Friday at O’Hare International Airport. They charged him with interstate stalking after, they say, he shot and tried to distribute videos of Andrews naked in her hotel room. According to the FBI, Barrett tried to sell them to the celebrity web site TMZ and posted them online. A TMZ employee reportedly tipped off Andrews’ attorney.
In a statement today, Andrews gave thanks to “ESPN for its support during this difficult time.” She says she hopes the case will eventually help others, who have been similarly victimized: “For my part, I will make every effort to strengthen the laws on a state and federal level to better protect victims of criminal stalking,” she said in a statement Saturday.
FBI agents said seven of the eight videos posted on the internet were taken through a peephole in September 2008. The videos — which authorities say were likely taken via cell phone — showed the 31-year-old reporter alone and undressed in hotel rooms in Nashville, Tenn. Investigators believe Barrett called several hotels to find out where Andrews was staying, and requested a room next to hers. They estimate that the eighth video was also taken at a hotel, but Andrews couldn’t identify which one.
According to court papers, Barrett put Andrews under surveillance to harass and intimidate her, and to cause substantial emotional distress. Andrews says she felt ashamed and embarrassed, and has had trouble sleeping and breathing. She also said she’s worried more footage will surface.